Five rare jewels from Oregon’s ocean
1. Sacred Sea Wild Albacore
Sacred Sea founder Rick Goche has served on just about every fish-related commission in the state—it’s no wonder his canned tuna’s so damn good. Sacred Sea’s tiny fishery on the Oregon coast uses old-school trolling methods to catch low-mercury North Pacific albacore; then the tuna is cooked in its own juices for an especially succulent bite.
2. Coeur de la Mer Boquerones
You might dismiss this Astoria-based seafood company as another StarKist, but their boquerones (marinated Spanish anchovies) are some of the best around. Caught off the Oregon coast and spiced with garlic, chile, or curry, these velvet-smooth fillets are a classy addition to Caesar salads, or atop crostini with skordalia (garlic and white bean purée) or roasted red peppers.
3. The Smokery’s Smoked Salmon
Hot-smoked, cold-smoked, maple-brined, and whiskey-soaked—the Dublin natives behind the Hillsdale-based Smokery (a farmers market favorite) do it all. The best of the bunch is an “Old Irish” variety, imbued with brown sugar, molasses, onion, garlic, and dill for a savory ode to the Jacobs family’s Irish roots.
4. Columbia River Fish Co Caviar
Simon Sampson, known at the PSU Portland Farmers Market as the “salmon man,” hauls chinook, coho, steelhead, and walleyes out of the Columbia River with ancient Native American fishing techniques. Get to the market early and be prepared to fight Portland’s Eastern European gourmands for Sampson’s bright orange pearls of salmon roe.
COMING SOON: Olympic Provisions tuna
After conquering whole-pig butchery, salumist Elias Cairo and his team are moving on to the ocean. Prepare to have your definition of “canned fish” changed forever, with Oregon tuna bellies slow-poached in good olive oil and canned for an on-demand seafood arsenal. Look for products at Olympic Provisions in 2013.
HOW TO: Hook fresh fish
Spot the market’s best catch.
Look Fresh fish should have a bright, glistening, oily luster with uniform color throughout—no shaded spots or brown edges.
Touch Lightly press the fish with your thumb—while halibut will always be softer than salmon, the flesh of any fresh catch should bounce back from a gentle indentation.
Smell Just-caught fish will always give off the sweet smell of salt-water. It should never smell sour